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On the Books: J.K. Rowling hints she's almost done with 'Fantastic Beasts' screenplay

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– J.K. Rowling sparked some Twitter excitement with a series of tweets thought to be about the screenplay for Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them.”Very busy at the moment working on a novel, tweaking a screenplay and being involved in @lumos campaigns. Back when I’ve finished something!” Rowling posted on Sunday afternoon, explaining her recent Twitter inactivity. A few minutes later, she responded to a fan who tweeted “Everytime @jk_rowling tweets I stop what ever I’m doing and analyze it for an hour,” with this: “See, now I’m tempted to post a riddle or an anagram. Must resist temptation… must work…” Rowling followed through on that temptation this morning, when she posted “Cry, foe! Run amok! Fa awry! My wand won’t tolerate this nonsense,” and, shortly after, “Something to ponder while I’m away X.” So, is it a riddle or an anagram? A plot clue? Or perhaps, a befuddling bewitchment cast via Twitter—avid Potter fans will surely be theorizing over the meaning of the cryptic tweet for days and weeks to come, as Rowling seems to have intended.

Fantastic Beasts will be a trilogy of films based on the book of the same name she published in 2001, a survey of the magical creatures in her Harry Potter series. David Yates, who directed several of the Harry Potter movies, will direct the first film in the Warner Bros. franchise, set for a Nov. 2016 release. Rowling has said that in the films, “[t]he laws and customs of the hidden magical society will be familiar to anyone who has read the Harry Potter books or seen the films, but Newt’s story will start in New York, 70 years before Harry’s gets underway,” as EW reported last fall. The novel Rowling is working on is presumably her next crime novel under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith. This is her first screenplay.

– A Wichita, Kan. serial murderer known as the “BTK Killer” (“bind, torture, kill”), is co-writing a book about his 17-year, 10-victim murder spree. The Wichita Eagle reported that the killer, real name Dennis L. Rader, wrote a letter from El Dorado state prison. “I can never replace their loved ones, my deeds too ‘dark’ to understand, the book or movies, etc. is the only way to help them,” he wrote. Rader signed over his media rights to the victims’ families, one of whose lawyers says they will receive a portion of the profits. Forensic psychology professor Katherine Ramsland will correspond with Rader to glean criminological  insight into the mind of a serial killer. “I’m trying to make this a serious effort that will have some benefit for people who study this kind of crime,” she said.

Rader also said he hopes people will benefit from the project. “People like me, need to be understood, so the criminal professional field, can better understand, the criminal mind,” he wrote. “That would be my way helping debt to society.” [The New York Times]

– The New Yorker published a short story by famed Japanese author Haruki Murakami, the 4:1 favorite to win the Nobel Prize in Literature on Thursday. “Scheherazade” is about a man named Habara who can’t leave the house he is being held in, “where he is visited twice a week by a woman who has been hired to bring him food and supplies, and perhaps also to attend to his sexual needs,” as described in an accompanying interview with Murakami. Murakami’s Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage became a bestseller after its English release in August; his upcoming illustrated book Strange Library, in English, hits shelves in December.

– Independent Brooklyn-based publisher Akashic Books is collaborating with sportswriter and pundit David Zirin to create Edge of Sports Books, “a new imprint devoted to sports titles with a progressive political slant,” reports Publishers Weekly. The imprint is named for Zirin’s weekly sports column in The Nation. It will launch in 2016 with the release of two books—one coauthored by Olympic swimmer Anthony Ervin, the other about the hot-button topic of sexual assault in college football. Zirin says Edge of Sports will publish titles that explore “the ways where sports and politics illuminate one another.”